What a weird day. At about 9 am I stopped at Hikertown, the home of a guy named Bob who has converted his 3-car garage into a veritable PCT oasis, with separate bathroom and lounge areas, and who hosts several hundred hikers each year. He’s also built a small-scale Western town in his front yard, and occasionally ferries hikers to a nearby restaurant in his old Rolls Royce.
Tempting, but I wanted to get today’s miles in before the heat hit. Decades ago, owners of the massive Tejon Ranch refused to allow PCT builders to route the trail through their mountains, so this section takes a 22-mile detour straight through the edge of the Mojave desert, following a barren dirt road along the Los Angeles Aqueduct (ironically, the structure is mostly enclosed, with no access to water for the last 15 miles). This is a notoriously hot, flat, and desolate stretch; the average high on June 12, based on the last 30 years, is over 100 degrees; so I was lucky to cross today on a lovely 85-degree afternoon, with a breeze. And now, with this section out of the way, I can start praying for heat: I’ll hit the high Sierras in about a week!